From our July issue: “Juggling Wolves” - Kelsey Ford on Rear Window

“It’s nighttime in New York. Humid air gives way to rain. A couple, sleeping on the fire escape, is forced to drag their mattress back inside. A man in a wet parka leaves his apartment with a suitcase. An intoxicated songwriter swipes at the paper music laid out on his piano. The man with the suitcase returns, and then leaves again. A woman, dressed up and returning from a long night, shoves the door in her date’s face. The man with the suitcase returns.

Some floors up, L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is watching. He’s confined to his wheelchair with a broken leg, and the restlessness of being a sidelined photographer has gotten the best of him. During the day, he has a nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter), and a fiancée, Lisa (Grace Kelly), to keep him company. But now it’s nighttime. He’s alone and he can’t sleep.

The courtyard his apartment window looks out on is a standard one, with a range of buildings: some tall and narrow and brick, others short and squat with more windows than square footage. Ladders on fire escapes lead to small gardens below. Each window offers miniature dramas: the heartbreak, the happiness, the loneliness, the mess. Jeffries’ vantage is perfect: from above, he can see without being seen.

When others should be dreaming, Jeffries is watching those who aren’t.”

(Read the entire essay for free at RogerEbert.com)

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Happy 107th Birthday, Jimmy Stewart!

 (May 20, 1908 - July 2, 1997)

  “In Europe an elderly couple came up to me. The husband said: ‘We didn’t want to pass you without speaking to you. If it means anything to you, we want to tell you that over the years you have given us a lot of pleasure and entertainment.’ I told them that what they had just said meant everything to me. That’s what I’ve tried to make my life all about, and if they write ‘He gave people a lot of pleasure’ on my epitaph I shall be very pleased. I’ve had many people tell me that they remember certain little things I did in pictures. I think it’s wonderful to have been able to give people little pieces of time they can remember.” © James Stewart

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During the days of the strictly implemented production code it was stated that; ”excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown.” The unofficial rule of thumb was that screen kisses were not allowed to last for more than 3 seconds. Alfred Hitchcock circumvented said rule countless times by having his actors kiss, break apart kiss a cheek then kiss again multiple times during prolonged scenes.